During the 1930s Arturo Toscanini conducted many concerts broadcast by the BBC from London's Queen's Hall, where he also made some unsurpassed recordings. Drawing on newly researched material in British and American archives, Christopher Dyment reveals how the most renowned and influential conductor of the twentieth century, notoriously microphone-shy though he was, came to conduct so frequently in London, a tale replete with unexpected twists, turns and ingenious stratagems. Toscanini's dominating influence on London critics and audiences in the period covered by the narrative, extending through to his final appearances at the Royal Festival Hall in 1952, is copiously documented from contemporary sources. Dyment also presents fresh evidence showing how the remarkable combination of passionate conviction and architectural mastery that characterised Toscanini's conducting was grounded not only in his obsessive study of the score but also in his awareness of performing traditions dating back to the mid-nineteenth century.
This book will fascinate those with a particular interest in Toscanini's career and recorded legacy. It is also essential reading for anyone with an interest in the history of conducting and recording in the first half of the twentieth century, set against the vividly evoked backdrop of London's concert scene of the period. This comprehensive study includes both an annotated table of all Toscanini's London concerts and his EMI discography.
CHRISTOPHER DYMENT has written extensively about historic conductors since the 1970s, particularly Felix Weingartner and Arturo Toscanini. His first book, on Weingartner, was published in 1976.
A remarkable volume. MUSIC AND LETTERS
This excellent book provides detailed accounts of Toscanni's London concerts and recordings, and their critical reception ... Dyment's book, beautifully produced, is essential reading and thoroughly recommended. CLASSICAL MUSIC's Books of the Year, December 2013
An outstanding new book.which covers in detail every aspect of the great conductor's visits. INTERNATIONAL RECORD REVIEW
This book, an exhausting, exhilarating read, unearths a huge chunk of how much we still haven't learned about Arturo Toscanini. OPERA NEWS
Christopher Dyment has produced a major scholarly work, one that is a welcome reference tool and adds considerably to Toscanini's profile. FANFARE
Dyment has unearthed a great wealth of background material [...] [he] has the knack of leading the reader onwards to find out what happens next, rather as in a good detective novel, through the quality and expressive nature of his writing style. CLASSICAL RECORDINGS QUARTERLY
Highly recommended. CHOICE
Dyment's book, beautifully produced, is essential reading and thoroughly recommended. CLASSICAL MUSIC
[A]n unreserved recommendation for Dyment, whose beautifully styled prose is a joy to read and whose extensive research can only serve to enhance our understanding of this towering figure. GRAMOPHONE